Chicago -- Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn saluted a flotilla of Chicago River enthusiasts in crew boats stroking down the Chicago River in the best tradition of Olympic rowing.
A flotilla of sculling and quadruple rowing boats launched from the Interim Boating Center and reached the Gleacher Center to join Quinn and 12 professional rowing groups, along with collegiate and high school rowing teams. The Chicago River is one of the best rivers in the world for crew races.
“The shared efforts of the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, the Friends of the Chicago River and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have helped rid many of the toxic pollutants that afflicted our waterways for generations,” Quinn said. “This undertaking has allowed river enthusiasts to take advantage of the Chicago River by rowing down its stream -- a great way to stay active and fit.”
In 1850, rowing reached the shores of the United States where it became the first organized collegiate sport. In 1896, rowing became a part of the Olympics. Today, there are more than 100,000 participants in rowing sports nationwide. And just last week, 300 canoeists and kayakers participated in the Chicago River Flatwater Classic, the largest urban paddling race in the world.
Illinois is honored to have one rower in the 2004 Summer Olympics -- Jamie Schroeder of Wilmette is rowing in the Men’s Four rowing team. Schroeder rowed with Northwestern University his freshman year of college. He is a two-time senior national team member and a first-time Olympian.
“We’re very proud of first-time Olympian Jamie Schroeder and wish him success as he competes in the Men’s Four Heats,” Quinn said. “You don’t need to be an Olympian to enjoy the many benefits of rowing. Rowing is a competitive fitness sport for people of all ages, offering a low-impact workout that exercises most of the major muscle groups.”
Olympic rowing events began Saturday, August 14 and end on Saturday, August 21. To see a complete schedule of rowing events and see Schroeder compete, log on to www.usrowing.org
for a schedule of dates and times.
Quinn was joined by Cathy Hudzik of the Mayor’s Office (City of Chicago), Margaret Frisbee of Friends of the Chicago River and representatives from the Chicago Park District.